Filipino Farmers Group: Tourists Or Food
Farmers protest conversion of agricultural land for tourism
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May 13, 2008
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MANILA, Philippines -- Members of a leftist farmers’ group staged a picket at the Department of Tourism (DoT) in Manila on Tuesday to demand an end to the conversion of agricultural lands for tourism, specifically in Nasugbu, Batangas.
The Kalipunan ng Samahang Magsasaka sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK, Federation of Farmers’ Associations in Southern Tagalog) demanded the scrapping of Executive Order 647, which authorizes an “eminent persons group” to “oversee the sustainable development of Nasugbu tourism in behalf of the President of the Philippines and the Secretary of Tourism.”
Kasama-TK secretary general Orly Marcellana said stopping land conversion is crucial to solving the food crisis the country is facing.
“The people of Southern Tagalog pose a challenge to [President] Gloria [Macapagal] Arroyo to…immediately act on the case in Nasugbu by stopping the land use conversion. We also call on this department [DoT] to stop converting our lands, intended for agriculture and fisheries, especially [since] we are in the middle of a food crisis,” Marcellana said.
Samahang Magbubukid ng Batangas (SAMBAT, Batangas Farmers’ Association) chairman Romy Cayao said EO 647 “strengthens and caters the interest of the ‘eminent person,’ which, from our simple understanding, is the few capitalists and landlords,” at the expense of farmers and fisherfolk.